"Star Trek, Vol. 27: Ulitimate Computer & Omega Glory (Full Screen)" [Import]
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"The Ultimate Computer," Ep. 53 - Kirk stands by helplessly as his ship is used to test an advanced computer that turns out to be as flawed as its inventor. "The Omega Glory," Ep. 54 - Kirk and crew encounter a ghost ship, a madman captain, a deadly virus and 1,000-year-old natives on planet Omega IV.
"The Ultimate Computer"
Kirk reluctantly agrees to play along with a Federation test of a new supercomputer, designed by the brilliant Dr. Daystrom (William Marshall, the booming baritone stage actor most famous for Blacula) to run a starship almost single-handedly. It does its job too well, locking the human crew out of ship operations and using deadly force during the Federation war games. Spock and McCoy continue their now-legendary banter about man versus machine while Kirk muses over the obsolescence of his own command. Marshall is excellent as a former-boy-wonder genius banking his reputation on this breakthrough, treating his creation like a son. That's not too far from the truth: designed after his brain pattern, this thinking, reasoning, learning machine carries with it the insecurities and desperation of its creator. The fears of the emerging digital revolution explored in The Ultimate Computer in 1968 remain today: what is the fate of man in the face of technological efficiency? Films from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Colossus: The Forbin Project to Demon Seed and The Matrix have echoed these themes, and this Trek episode--primitive special effects, zero-budget sets, and all--stands up to them quite nicely. --Sean Axmaker
"The Omega Glory"
What is it with Starfleet captains? So many of them become wildly grandiose. Witness "The Omega Glory," in which another starship commander, Ronald Tracey (Morgan Woodward), tramples the Prime Directive by interfering in a long-running conflict between primitive societies, in this case the Yangs and Kohms of planet Omega IV. Siding with the Kohms, Tracey creates an imbalance of power that Kirk works to adjust by arming the Yangs proportionately. The script by series creator Gene Roddenberry is one of his not-so-subtle allegories for the state of the world in the 1960s, specifically our own cold war between nuclear superpowers. So bluntly drawn is Roddenberry's parallel between Omega IV and 20th-century Earth that this is one of the few Star Trek episodes that risks becoming completely absurd after a point. William Shatner (Captain Kirk) takes the biggest risk of all with a passionate, lengthy speech of the sort pranksters like comic actor Kevin Dunn are wont to imitate today. But the fact is that Shatner pulls off such chancy material very well, and certainly does so here. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
It should be noted that this is one of the most prominent roles played by an African-American on Star Trek TOS. While one is initially frustrated by the character's fate, further reflection suggests a lack of prejudice in this episode. Rather than walk on eggshells, the brain trust gave him the same fate (collapse of some sort) that (almost) always befell all Federation elite. (3 stars)
The Omega Glory-This patriotic episode, in which the Yangs (American whites) are oppressed by the Colms (Communist Asians), is a real stinker, no matter what your political philosophy. The Roddenberry-written episode starts strongly enough with an intriguing and disquieting teaser, but despite plenty of action it's a downhill ride once we reach the planet's surface. I can see the appeal of the 'what-if' stories; they allow us to imagine other possible historical trajectories on earth, and they are cheap to make. But the second season really overloaded us with them. Worse, this episode is in my opinion totally biased, presenting Asians as savages and Americans as heroic. A more measured approach with some heterogeneity would have been nice; on the other hand it wouldn't have made for as viscerally-gripping an episode.Read more ›
Over thirty years after it was first aired, The Ultimate Computer remains a thought provoking and relevant episode. The theme of man vs. machine is more with us today than ever before. D. C. Fontata's excellent script is helped by superior television directing from John Meredyth Lucas. The distinguished stage actor William Marshall's performance as Dr. Richard Daystrom is rich in foreshadowing the high-strung scientist's impending breakdown. (Primarily based on the strength of that performance, nearly every Trek incarnation since has referenced Richard Daystrom, and in The Next Generation, there's even a Daystrom Institute.) Barry Russo makes a brief but noteworthy appearance as Commodore Robert Wesley (Wesley was Gene Roddenberry's middle name). Finally, James Doohan outdoes himself by playing THREE roles here: Scotty (of course), the voice of Commodore Enwright, and the voice of the M-5 Computer.
The Omega Glory was one of three scripts written for the second Trek pilot, following NBC's rejection of The Cage (the other two were Mudd's Women and Where No Man Has Gone Before). Though this was the first script written making use of the parallel worlds concept, by the time it was filmed, the idea had been used so many times before (Miri, Bread & Circuses, Patterns of Force) that it was becoming stale. As in Patterns of Force, the parallels are so obviously drawn that they're not convincing.
There are a few clever visual touches here: In The Ultimate Computer, four Constitution Class starships are shown by creating a split screen effect.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
REVIEWED ITEM: Star Trek® Original Series DVD Volume 27: The Ultimate Computer © / The Omega Glory ©
THE ULTIMATE COMPUTER © PRELIMINARY BRIEFS:
Moral, Ethical, and/or... Read more
Not the very best episodes among the original series offerings; they're weighed down a bit by, respectively, too much heavy allegory ("The Omega Glory") and excess... Read morePublished on Dec 13 2002 by Joseph P. Menta, Jr.
Volume 27 of The Star Trek DVD series contains two of the second season's typical plots. Both episodes are watchable and entertaining However neither of these episodes are not the... Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2002 by Jared Insell
"The Ultimate Computer" is a typical Trek story of Kirk vs. the computer..Guess who wins? James Doohan (Scotty) does the voice of M-5. Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2002 by McHenry John
"The Ultimate Computer" is a so-so entry, with more to recommend it than not, and "The Omega Glory" is - frankly - laughably bad, one of the worst scripts seen in the entire... Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2002 by Bruce Rux
The Omega Glory was one of the last Star Trek shows that explored the parrell worlds theory (invented so that they would not have to transform a lot of actors into aliens) and thus... Read morePublished on May 12 2002 by D.W. Smith
It seems like quality control has waivered as the series releases have slowly rolled out. Look for spelling errors in the enclosed documentation. Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2001 by R. Slack
Gene Roddenberry had a dream and it was star trek his infinitive vision lives on today with all the new star trek series but his origonal series is still one of the best in these... Read morePublished on July 15 2001
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